U.S. Coast Guard License / Credential Requirements

These general prerequisites should be reviewed before applying for any U.S. Coast Guard license/credential. This is recommended so you don't spend your time and money pursuing a license that you don't qualify for.

But please, don't rule yourself out on your own if you have any questions at all about whether you qualify for a license. Call us at 619-225-1783 or toll free at 888-262-8020 and one of our friendly staff will answer your questions.

Prerequisites for OUPV
       Operator Uninspected Passenger Vessel License

You must meet all of the prerequisites in this paragraph to receive an OUPV- Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels License

  • Must be 18 years old

  • Must be able to document 360 days of experience on a vessel

  • Must have 90 of these days within the last 3 years

  • 90 of the 360 days must be on the ocean or near coastal waters, or the license will be limited to inland waters only

  • License will be limited to uninspected vessels of less than 100 gross tons

If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you can receive this license BUT your tonnage will be limited to Vessels of 5 Net Tons or less

Prerequisites for Captain's License
       Master / Inland or Mate Near Coastal of Inspected Passenger Vessels Up to 100 Gross Ton

You must meet all of the prerequisites in this paragraph to receive a Master Inland or Mate Near Coastal License for Inspected Passenger Vessels of up to 100 Gross Tons:

  • Must be 19 Years old

  • Must be able to document 360 days of experience on a vessel

  • Must have 90 of the 360 days within last 3 years

  • For the Mate Near Coastal 180 of the 360 days must have been on the ocean or near coastal waters

  • Your tonnage is determined by the U. S. Coast Guard depending on your experience for a 100 Gross Tons license, 90 days must be on vessels of 51 gross tons or above OR 180 days must be on vessels of 34 gross tons or above for a 50 gross tons license 90 days must be on a vessel of 25 gross tons or above. If all your time is on a vessel of 16 gross tons or less the license will be limited to 25 gross tons.

If you plan on operating an Inspected sailing vessel you must have a sailing endorsement, the required seatime for this is 180 days of sail or sail auxiliary time (these may be part of the 360 days and may be prior to license issuance)

Prerequisites for Captain's License
       Master Near Coastal of Inspected Passenger Vessels Up to 100 Gross Ton

You must meet all of the prerequisites in this paragraph to receive a Master Near Coastal License for Inspected Passenger Vessels of up to 100 Gross Tons:

  • Must be 19 Years old

  • Must be able to document 720 days of experience on a vessel 360 of these days must have been on ocean or near coastal waters

  • Must have 90 days within the last 3 years

  • Your tonnage is determined by the U. S. Coast Guard depending on your experience for a 100 Gross Tons license, 180 days must be on vessels of 51 gross tons or above OR 180 days must be on vessels of 34 gross tons or above for a 50 gross tons license 180 days must be on a vessel of 26 gross tons or above. If all your time is on a vessel of 16 gross tons or less the license will be limited to 25 gross tons.

If you plan on operating an Inspected sailing vessel you must have a sailing endorsement, the required seatime for this is 360 days of sail or sail auxiliary time (these may be part of the 360 days and may be prior to license issuance.

Prerequisites and Standards Common to All Classes of U.S. Coast Guard Licenses / Credentials

  • All mariners must apply for a TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) before submitting an application packet to the U. S. Coast Guard. The TWIC information is available at their website.

  • When calculating qualifying sea time, you must have been underway on the water for a minimum of four (4) hours to count as one (1) sea day. (Only one day's credit is allowed per date.)

  • A U.S. Coast Guard approved CPR and First Aid course is required. (Adult CPR, basic First Aid). The First Aid must have been within the last 12 months and the CPR must be current. The Maritime Institute offers this course.

  • You must have passed a routine physical within the past 12 months. Vision must be at least 20/200, correctable to 20/40 in each eye. Color sense must be satisfactory (Waivers are available in some cases)

  • Drug screening is required. Your drug test must have been done within the last 6 months

  • DUIs, drug, and felony convictions are reviewed by the U. S. Coast Guard, and depending on the offense, there could be a one (1) to ten (10) year hold period before you are eligible to receive a license or credential

  • Military time and foreign time is evaluated for eligibility by the U. S. Coast Guard (NMC). This time is evaluated on a case by case basis

Prerequisites for Able Seaman

Able Seaman (AB) is a deck rating that requires qualifying experience, exams and approved training. The AB rating you receive will be dependent on your qualifying sea service experience.

  • AB Unlimited requires 1080 days of deck service on Oceans or Great Lakes.

  • AB Limited requires 540 days of deck service on vessels of 100 GRT or more, not exclusive to rivers & smaller inland lakes of the U.S.

  • AB Special requires 360 days of deck service on navigable waters of the U.S.

  • AB OSV (Offshore Supply Vessel) requires 180 days of deck service on navigable waters of the U.S.

  • AB Sail requires 180 days of deck service on sailing school vessels, oceanographic research vessels powered primarily by sail or equivalent sail vessels on any navigable waters of the U.S.

  • AB Fishing requires 180 days of deck service, not as a processor, in any navigable waters of the U.S.

Lifeboatman is a required all Able Seaman ratings. To qualify as lifeboatman the applicant must complete an approved "Proficiency in Survival Craft" course.

Basic Safety Training (STCW-95) Completion of a basic safety training course is required on all Able Seaman ratings. This course consists of CPR/First Aid, Personal Safety and Social Responsibilities, Personal Survival and Basic Firefighting.

RFPNW (Rating Forming Part of a Navigational Watch) is an STCW endorsement required for Able Seaman who are part of the Navigation Watch on sea going vessels of greater than 200 gross registered tons (GRT). To receive this rating the applicant must complete an approved course or meet the training and assessment requirements for the rating. Here is a link to the assessments at the National Maritime Center

Information on Upper Tonnage Licensing Requirements

For Upper Tonnage licenses please visit the National Maritime Center for requirements and administrative fees available on their web site. Maritime Institute offers prep courses for upper tonnage licensing; please see our Schedule for Courses and dates.


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Tel:
619-225-1783 - Toll Free: 888-262-8020 - Fax: 619-523-9178 - E-mail: info@maritimeinstitute.com